When the United States imposes its imperialist agenda on third world nations, what is the most common justification? “We’re spreading democracy!” Sure, their intentions may sound good enough, but what do our rulers really mean when they say “democracy?”
Why is it that every election year we are filled with hope and promises of change and are always disappointed even when our favorite politicians take office? It’s because your so called representatives do not represent you or your interests. They can’t because most of our class interests are different. Their agendas are funded by the corporate Capitalist class, thereby influencing the policies politicians put forward.
Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions. Rather, we should ask, “Why do we talk about changing our rulers when we really want to change our lives?”
In this context, your vote means nothing. Your “representatives” were bought and sold long ago. They’re the puppets of the highest bidder. Is picking the lesser of two evils really the best of all possible worlds?
As Oscar Wilde put it, democracy is “the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” What are the functions of a politician in the first place? Essentially, all they do is talk, create laws, and declare war. Their jobs aren’t to change anything or challenge the status-quo, it is to keep things the way that they are.
Democracy, the illusion of control and choice, is the apparatus that keeps the masses from realizing how powerless they really are. Democrats and Republicans are in bed with the same bankers and special interests. Every time you vote, you vote for the corporate and big business parties with your choice of red and blue.
Perhaps this can be solved by a series of reforms you say. Unfortunately, as long as the control of our physical, social, and cultural environments remain in the hands of those with the most capital and private property, democracy will be perpetually corrupt.
“Beggars can’t be choosers.” The choosers are always the ones begging. They beg their rulers to serve them when they so blatantly serve those who fatten their pocketbooks and ensure future positions of power, so long as they continue to serve them that is.
Let’s do away with representation all together. Their power lies in the mass hypnosis that there can only be one legitimate decision making body; a single means in which we can improve and change our lives. We become dependent on the very institutions that prevent us from achieving the world we wish to live in. That is not freedom. In fact, that is the very definition of slavery.
Democracy means division, police, borders, war, prisons, and surveillance; all the things that ensures that a vast distance remains between government and the governed. It is to ensure that the power remains in the hands of the powerful and out of the hands of the people.
Replace democracy with freedom, true freedom. Let’s build new social structures that promote autonomy, mutual aid, self-reliance, and free association while arriving at decisions together instead of the Capitalist class making them for us.
A staunch refusal to take part in their game and the realization of the potential we, autonomous and independent human beings, have to take back control of our surroundings and our lives is the first step towards living in a world not only without government, but a world where there is no need for government.
I know, right?
Here’s the article in which I graciously told law enforcement to kindly fuck off.
The editor at the print publication that I write for forwarded me a response from a police officer who wanted to “set me straight.” Below is how we felt about the column. As a gesture, the officer will remain anonymous because chances are, Anonymous will hack your department’s website and reveal all of your department’s identities eventually.This is what I sent back to him:
“In response to Mr. Nelson’s opinion and thoughts on laws and authority figures, he needs to be set straight. Very briefly, one of the basic requirements of having laws and people to enforce them: ‘To Protect People From Themselves.’ If not you have anarchy and we revert back to being Neanderthals.
This I learned many years ago on the first day of police training in order to better understand why I was there and the purpose of my function and others in my position in society.”
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my column officer. Allow me to counter.
Firstly, myself and many people that I care about have already been set straight by law enforcement agents such as yourself. We have been blinded by your pepper spray at point blank range for silently sitting on a plot of grass peacefully. We have been set straight by the beatings, wounds, and scars individuals in your profession have inflicted on us. Law enforcement as a collective whole has busted through our doors in the middle of the night and have stolen our belongings, spied on us, threatened us, and in many cases even killed us. Like I said in my column, the police have almost always been on the wrong side when it comes to positive social change. From the United States to Egypt, your primary objective is to serve and protect the status quo, not the people.
If your passion was to truly prevent crime, then why do you choose the side that oppresses the people who are risking their freedoms and lives to change the social conditions that generate crime in the first place? It’s because that is not your function as a police officer. Your purpose is to ensure that the mechanisms of the current social order are well oiled and continue to reinforce the power of those with capital and seats of power.
You are not protecting the people from themselves, you are protecting power from the people.
However, you are right about one thing. Without you, we would return to Anarchy and that is precisely what we want. Believe it or not, there was a time in human history where we did not need police or any form of government at all. Human beings did not need it because they didn’t live under an economic system that artificially created scarcity. ItwasAnarchy in the sense that human beings were free. Thus, there was equilibrium with the natural world.
I don’t wish to romanticize groups of people who live and have lived in this way, for that’s simply another form of objectification. Thereweredisputes and conflicts then as well. The difference being that people were forced to work them out, part separate ways, or come to some kind of compromise. Indigenous peoples very rarely engaged in armed conflict. When they did, a very few people were ever hurt or killed.
There is a reason why you were taught that you need to “protect people from themselves.” It’s because that’s the thing that rationalizes your injustices and oppressive activities towards people in so called “lower” positions in society.
I don’t expect you to read this a quit your job tomorrow. So I suppose the only other option myself and individuals like me have is to continue working and fighting against you. Believe me, I wish with every cell in my body that this can be dealt with in another way. Unfortunately, so long as we continue to dismantle systems of oppressive power, we will remain in conflict with the institutions you represent.
It’s nothing personal officer. I’m sure you’re a pleasant human being. It’s not you specifically that I have a problem with, it’s your fucking uniform.
If there’s one thing you take away from this, know that we don’t do what we do for a paycheck. You do. When you’re laid off here pretty soon, let us see how motivated you’ll be in beating the shit out of teenagers in the streets for chanting, “No justice. No peace. FUCK THE POLICE!” Chances are, you’ll be joining them.
With Love and Resistance,
Your friendly neighborhood Anarchist.
(P.S. Call in sick on May 1st!)
I’ve always had a problem with authority. I still do. The dominant culture views this as an unfavorable attribute whereas I see it as a redeeming quality. As I have grown up and become an activist finding myself face to face with rows of armored riot police, it seems as though my wariness of the law is more than justified to say the least. I learned that there are myths that this culture perpetuates about the police in order to keep everyone in check as good little Capitalist drones; seemingly unaware of the world they actually live in.
The first myth is that the police exercise legitimate authority, thereby giving them the right to dictate what you can and cannot do. The function of the police officer is to enforce the law, obviously. It sounds reasonable enough unless you question the legitimacy of the laws they are enforcing. Who’s to say that these laws are right or just at all? Slavery was legal and aiding escaped slaves was illegal. The Nazis came to power via democratic elections and passed laws through “legitimate” channels. Those who combatted these unjust laws and the agents who enforced them broke the law to do so. This can be seen throughout history. Therefore, we cannot rely on the law and those who enforce it to do the right thing.
The most dangerous myth, especially among activists, is that there are only a few bad apples but most have the best intentions. Although it is true that some cops take the job, often out of economic pressure, in the hopes of improving society, they still need to obey orders instead of their conscious if they want to keep their job. So long as this is the case, enforcement will always be an extremely dangerous institution and cannot be trusted. It’s an institutional and systemic issue, not an individual one.
The favorite myth among the elites is that we need the police to protect us. Protect from whom? Most usually it is the victims of inequalities created by the very institutions that law enforcement protects. Another function of the police is to protect the interests of the Capitalist class. Every time there is a strike, the police are always on the side of the bosses. Every time there is a demonstration against the World Trade Organization, it is the police who fire rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd instead of the people who commit crimes against humanity. Humans are not born inherently criminal or deviant, they are shaped by products of the environment in which they are brought up. Instead of attacking the problem at its source, the police further stratify society and reinforce the social and economic imbalances.
The mainstream seems be hesitant to question he police and authority in general. For every protestor beaten by law enforcement there is a massive portion of the population that is quick to blame the activist for the police’s actions. It is this “blame the victim” mentality that stifles social change and maintains the status quo that justifies the gassing of teenagers in the streets and the oppression of the poor and working classes.
In every social struggle, the police are always being pitted against the people they swore to protect and serve. More often than not, breaking the law is a means of doing the right thing and that is something we should all strive to do despite the social, economic, and political consequences.
A friend and fellow activist was speaking at a lecture about taking down civilization and said, “As a long time grassroots environmentalist I’ve been intimately acquainted with the landscape of loss and have grown accustomed to carrying the daily weight of despair.”
If you have read or heard these words before and often feel the same way, know that you are not alone.
I’m not writing this to convince you that climate change is happening and that civilized humans are responsible for it. This should be apparent and common knowledge by now.
I’m going to move the conversation forward; way forward.
For those who deny the reality that we are approaching catastrophic ecological collapse as a result of the lifestyle of the dominant culture, I suggest you stop reading here. You have better things to do such as going to the grocery store or pre-ordering Mass Effect 3.
For those who understand that we are at the tipping point of world destruction, this message is for you. We don’t have much time.
I’ve been putting off writing this column for a while so that I could adequately ease you into these subjects and thought processes. If you thought my previous columns were radical, please secure your tray in the upright and locked position.
Imagine for a moment that aliens descended upon Earth and began deforesting the Amazon rain forest and 98 percent of the planet’s old growth forests, poisoned our food, air, and water, put dioxin in every mother’s breast milk, altered the climate, dumped unimaginable amounts of pollutants into the streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans, and extracted massive amounts of resources at the expense of humans and nonhumans. What would we all do? What’s your first instinct? The majority of us would fight back. Not with petitions, Facebook groups, or campaign contributions, but with and organized resistance. Most of us would fight back directly and fiercely because our futures would depend on it.
Everything I’ve described above is occurring at this very moment, only this time the dominant culture is the culprit. Yet, we are complacent in the face of ecological annihilation.
These realities roll under us like so many hand grenades rolling across the dance floor. Look. It won’t go away. And we continue the dance of world destruction.
It’s evident that the dominant culture will not undergo a voluntary transformation into a sane and sustainable way of life. Most would agree for various reasons.
If this is the case, what does that mean about our strategy and our tactics? We see protests, sit-ins, banner drops, groovy green light bulbs and recycling bins, yet every day that passes the planet is in worse shape. Maybe a change in tactics and strategy are needed.
We don’t need more environmental organizations, we need organized resistance groups. We need not speak truth to power via protests, but force power to change through sabotage and sustained blockades at major nodes of industry.
Find the levers and apply pressure, that’s how we win this war. Indeed, it’s been a war ongoing for thousands of years.
Direct action is the only means in which true social and political change occurs. Those in power are not going to change because we ask nicely. Force is the only language they know.
At the expense of the revolutionary tone, I wept the other night when I found out that TransCanada is going to continue its Keystone XL tarsand pipeline project within the U.S. NASA climate scientists have said that this will mean “Game Over” for the climate. One of the extensions will be built from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast.
This can be stopped. All of it. Not just TransCanada but Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Chesapeake Energy, and every hydraulic fracturing project T. Boon Pickens has ever started. In order to actually win against these mass murderers and sociopaths, we need and organized political resistance both aboveground and underground.
I’ll leave you with a question and then a quote. Question: If such a resistance movement already existed, would you join it? If not, why? This movement does exist, and it’s closer to home than you think. Seek them out and you will find them.
And for a quote that a good friend of mine once said, “During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Jews who resisted had a higher chance of survival than those who went along.”
Now, please give a moment of silence for the 200 species of plants and animals that went extinct today as a result of this genocidal culture and do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day until we end this ecocide once and for all.